Monday, December 17, 2007

Two different Integral initiatives

Two very different "Integral" projects:

The Gnostic Centre - a research centre for the growth of consciousness, based on Aurobindonian Integral philosophy. "Gnostic" here would seem to be a reference to Sri Aurobindo'sd term for higher consciousness and supramentalised being (see The Life Divine Book II ch.27)

To quote from the site:

based in new delhi, set up as a non-profit public charitable trust, in 1996, engaged in research, training and education

The Gnostic Centre was set up by a group of youth, with the purpose of creating a space for those who seek a more integral knowledge - about themselves as well as the world. Based on the Integral Yoga philosophy of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, it is working towards creating a community for research and training in growth of consciousness, and to grow into a future university that integrates the subjective and objective realms of knowledge - towards a larger perfection of knowledge and action, based on an inner core of self-discovery and self-mastery.

and also

The Gnostic Centre is continuously engaged in creating resources that emerge out of its ongoing work, as well as support that work based on study and action research in the fields of Integral Yoga, Psychology, Self-development, Integral Education, Management, Social Change, Transformative Learning, Culture......

Includes an "International Centre for Integral Studies" (ICIS) which is quite different to both the Californian Institute of Integral Studies and the Wilberian Integral Institute, although the similarity of topic titles to Wilberian I-I i\s intriguing. Obviously, the content will be very different (and no doubt much more practical and grounded in authentic spirituality). But I am extremely pleased to see this development, which shows that the Wilberians do not have a monopologly on "integralism". Indeed, my main criticism of Wilber is not his philosophy (as I consider his attempt at a grand synthesis very inspiring) but his hegemonistic claim to ownership of "Integral" (see the AQAL glossary) and to represent and build upon Sri Aurobindo, who he seriously misinterpretates. If he even half-correctly interpreted Sri Aurobindo I would be all for him! Yet, ironically, even he is still furthering the Divine Work established by Sri Aurobindo and the Mother

The Gnostic Centre / International Centre for Integral Studies seems to have been around for over a decade (founded in 1996, the journal goes back to 1997), which intriguingly is also about the time the Wilber Integral Institute was established (1997-98).

A very different, and still new, and equally worthy, project is Open Source Integral, a forum established by Mike of the Integral Research Group (Integral Praxis blog). It's a bit like a post-wilberian version of Zaadz, although much smaller (only two dozen or so members). But some very interesting discussions and comments, even if only a very few people are involved.

For example, might Integralism at the broadest be defined, in one contributer Bill's words (this in a comment on the thread "Mapping out the "Integral" Tool Kit"), as a "cohesive model of human development" (this would nicely include both Wilberism and Sri Aurobindo's Integral Yoga)

But I'm not sure if the Integral Open Spource Project will keep going; the problem being that a certain minimum critical mass of people is required (the "tipping point" or threshhold) for the project to have a life of its own, rather than being "carried" by only one or two people.

For example, Zaadz has a life of its own. The science fiction project I initiated and co-founded, Orion's Arm, also has a life of its own. Even though i am involved at only a very minimal level now it is still continuing better than ever. Wikipedia has a life of its own; I can definitely see it continuing even withoutt Jimmy Wales at its head.

I don't think that Wilber's Integral Institute has, because i cannot see it continuing without Wilber's central presence, except as a hollow shell or at best an exoteric religion. But a wider Integral Movement definitely has a life of its own, because this movement seems to already be being established, and is no way depedent on the personality cult of one person. Whether it will continue to grow and develop and become a whole new evolutionary cultural stage of consciousness, as Sri Aurobindo (using different terminology - see The Human Cycle) Paul Ray, Sally Goerner, Ken Wilber, Don Beck, Scott McIntosh, and others have suggested, remains to be seen. For now, my position is that the Western Integral Movement (established by but no longer limited to Wilber) is the newest development of the New Paradigm, and the New Paradigm/Integral movement is the secular and intellectual counterpart of the New Age.

An interesting development, were it to happen, would be a New Paradigm convergence of Integral Movement (secular, exoteric) and Integral Yoga (esoteric). If Wilber keeps publicising Sri Aurobindo, maybe something like this might actually happen, despite Wilber (and most of the mainstream Integral movement)'s complete misunderstanding of what Sri Aurobindo and the Mother actually taught. That is why I say that even Wilber is, unknowingly, furthering the Divine Work established by Sri Aurobindo and the Mother.

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Saturday, December 08, 2007

Integral Movement page on Wikipedia

I have to admit, the Integral Movement page on Wikipedia seems to be shaping up quite well. I was quite concerned about the resistance of Wikipedia to even progressive ideas like Integralism (even though it is exoteric), and saw this resistance as an example of the old consciousness against the new. Well, it is, but the new consciousness can still establish itself in the current status quo; indeed it is absolutely essential that it does so, if change and transformation is to occur.

So I've been merging material from redirect pages, and with footnotes it is looking more scholarly. So even though these conservatives annoy me, i have to admit that I do agree with them that in terms of current popular knowledge (and that is what Wikipedia represents, the status of popular Western secular knowledge as it is at present, all from a geekish perspective) one can't justify a whole string of Integral articles. But a single one, well written, on the Integral Movement, is a good idea.

So if anyone reading this wants to chip in and add to the page, please do so! Especially important are footnotes and citations, so it is best to add stuff that can be referred to in print or in scholarly online articles.

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